Back in July affilinet acquired Cleafs, an affiliate network with a great reputation in the Dutch market. We caught up with Bram Dijkstra to find out more about the Cleafs, the secret behind their success and his personal royal connections!
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Hard working, precise and positively crazy.
Tell us a bit about your role at Cleafs.
I have been part of the Cleafs network since it began in 2007 and I am mostly responsible for Key Account Management (publishers and advertisers) Travel / Ticketing and some other key accounts like Zooplus, Centralpoint and Popgom. Besides that, I build xslt spiders for productfeeds and provide support if there are technical questions.
Cleafs joined affilinet Netherlands earlier this year. What has been key to the success of Cleafs?
Cleafs is well known for several aspects and competencies like usability, transparency, high standard traffic / service and a lot of knowledge regarding affiliate marketing. Besides that, we focus on different segments like travel, fashion, living, ticketing and niche markets like automotive (mostly tires) and (valet)parking around airports.
Cleafs focuses on quality rather than quantity and our database is clean and easy to manage. Due to the fact that Cleafs focuses on several markets there is a lot of knowledge, which allows us to raise more revenue for our advertisers and publishers.
Looking at our team of employees I think you can describe us as hard working, focused, market savvy and slightly crazy.
You’ve been in the industry for a while now, what’s the most innovative affiliate activity you’ve been involved with to date?
Looking back on the past 5 years I think the Dutch market has changed from quantitative to qualitative. Advertisers are looking for additional sales in combination with high standard service and advice while publishers are becoming more organized and professional. By adapting to this market and adjusting our work method, e.g. improving our service, and our ‘out of the box’ attitude we have managed to take on more market share and a trustworthy reputation.
What’s your best advice for publishers wanting to grow their revenue next year?
Stick to a couple of markets and try to improve your SEO, SEA and usability. Besides that I think there are a lot of opportunities left in niche markets. Ask your consultant which products / segments are not highly competitive and try to achieve a high position in the ranking.
We know that you guys enjoy your pancakes but what other cuisine can we typically expect to find in the Netherlands?
Pancakes are indeed one of the typical Dutch dishes, which I am not too fond of by the way. Another dish which is typically Dutch is called ‘hete bliksem’, which you can freely translate as ‘really hot lightning’. This dish is made of potatoes and apples and is served as a hotchpotch. This dish however can be considered an old classic and is mostly eaten by the elderly.
Where would you recommend is worth visiting for an amazing gastronomic experience?
Last year I visited a restaurant called ‘La Terraza del Casino’ in Madrid. This restaurant is housed in an old men’s club, has an ancient old wooden elevator and great cuisine. The restaurant’s chef de cuisine is a protégé of the famous chef Ferran Adria. The signature menu is served as tapiplatos, around fifteen small courses ‘El Bulli style’, and nothing is what it seems.
One dish stood out to me because of its ingredients: anemone with a stock of seawater. It sounds simple but I have never experienced something so tasteful and delicate before. I really recommend this restaurant to all foodies for an unforgettable gastronomic experience.
Finally, what is something that not a lot of people know about you?
Besides an education in Marketing Management I have also studied hospitality management and have a degree in wine. Before I went to Cleafs I worked at a luxury hotel / restaurant for 5 years and served several famous people like Princess Anne of the UK and Prince Willem Alexander of the Netherlands.
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